Despite having won the past 15 Maryland Scholastic Association wrestling tournaments, Mount St. Joseph coach Paul Triplett admitted to having lost sleep the past two weeks.
He shouldn't have worried.
Mount St. Joe, with four individual champions, easily won its 16th consecutive title yesterday in the meet at the Gilman School with 273 points. Gilman was second with 196 points and McDonogh third with 172.
"The tournament is a nervous time for us," said Triplett, the fourth-year coach. "It's a lot of pressure because the kids don't want to be remembered as the team that had the streak broken. And I don't want to be remembered as the coach that let it happen. We come here and there are a lot of the old guys from the school wanting to see how we're doing. We can only go down.
"Overall though, I'm pleased with the way we wrestled and in some cases, we wrestled over our heads," Triplett said.
Besides their four champions, the Gaels had two runners-up in George Karatzas (145-pound class) and Kevin Neville (152). Karatzas lost to Friends' Todd Helman, 7-2, in overtime and Neville was decisioned by Gilman's David Gilner, 10-0.
Two Mount St. Joe wrestlers placed third (Steve Cooper 189, and Paul Scott 112) and two placed fifth (Steve Smiddy, 103, Brian Bennett, 160). The Gaels were so dominating that they had clinched the title before the championship round.
Even more surprising is that St. Joe overwhelmed the field with team of two freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors and four seniors. This is a team that in the future could match the talent of the 1977 through 1979 teams which turned out 10 Division I wrestlers.
"I don't know if they can be as good, but they could approach that level," said Triplett, a member of those famed St. Joe teams. "It's something I tell the guys they can shoot for."
St. Joe won the first four of its championship bouts yesterday. Gaels sophomore Shane McCarthy (119) scored a takedown, then scored two back-points in the middle of his match to hold on and defeat Poly's Malcom Compton, 7-6.
The Gaels' Jon Mack (125) followed with a second-period pin of Loyola's Ian Robbins. Teammate Chad Votta escaped and then took down McDonogh's Jon Klaff in the last 34 seconds of their 135-pound title match for a 6-3 decision. St. Joe's Khris Reina also won a title, decisioning McDonogh's Brian Antonelli, 8-3.
Besides Mack's, there was only one other pin in the finalsArchbishop Curley's Greg Mryncza (130) pinned Gilman's John Kim with three seconds left in the second period. Poly's Phillip Pass (112), Reina, Loyola's Chris Stratemeyer (171) and Southwestern's Walter Reed (189) were champions who repeated yesterday. Reed finished the season unbeaten with a 29-0 record.